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Tour Mash: Dustin Johnson Overpowers Spieth in Northern Trust Playoff

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The PGA Tour began its playoff season on Long Island, while the Web.com Tour concluded its regular season in Washington state. The LPGA Tour returned to individual competition at the Canadian Pacific Open, while the European and Champions tours marched toward their playoff seasons. August bids farewell with a healthy mash of golfing excellence. Read on!

PGA Tour: FedEx Cup Playoffs begin with a Johnson win at The Northern Trust

Dustin Johnson made an inconceivable putt on the 72nd hole to save par and remain even with Jordan Spieth. He hit an implausible tee ball over water, sand, fire, you name it, on the day’s only playoff hole. It was Johnson’s wedge game, the facet that brought him from top-20 golfer to world No. 1, that earned him the win in the first FedEx Cup playoff event.

After his cannon shot returned to Earth on the first playoff hole, Johnson was left with less than 100 yards to the green. He stuffed a wedge in tight, and then watched as Spieth had the speed, but not the aim, on his birdie putt. After the Texan tapped in for par, Johnson’s 3-footer went in the center, and his 16th career title was secured.

Spieth had a three-shot lead over the 2016 U.S. Open champ when the day began, and he started well with two birdies in his first five holes. One of those errors that has caused many to question Spieth’s swing happened on the sixth hole. Spieth chunk-dunked his tee ball on the watery par-3, made double, and followed it with a bogey three holes later. Like that, his lead was gone.

Related: Dustin Johnson’s Winning WITB

LPGA Tour: A Walk for Park at the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open

Mo Martin and Nicole Broch Larsen began Sunday of Canada’s National Open Championship in a tie for first. They learned that scores around even par get passed. Unable to muster any Sunday momentum, both golfers dropped from contention.

Replacing them at the top of the leaderboard were Koreans Mirim Lee and Sung Hyun Park. Lee had a volatile round, countering three bogeys with two birdies and two eagles. Lee was able to move up two spots on Sunday, from fourth to second, courtesy of her closing 68. Park was better. She marked seven birdies and zero bogeys on her card on Sunday, and moved all the way from a tie for 12th to the winner’s seat.

The victory, paired with her July win at the U.S. Open, made Park the queen of North America. She moved into the fouth spot on the Race to CME Globe chase. Canadian Brooke Henderson hoped to rally on Sunday and give her fans a homebred hero, but her closing 71 dropped her to a tie for 12th.

European Tour: Made In Denmark Open is Suri’s 1st Big Win

The American on everyone’s radar this week was John Daly. The two-time major winner and denizen of the Champions Tour had played himself into contention. JD would ultimately finish tied for the 10th spot, but it was another U.S. golfer who would steal the show and the title.

Julian Suri was paired with third-round leader David Horsey, and he served notice early on that he would figure in the outcome. Suri birdied five holes on the outward half, turning in 31. Horsey recovered from a first-hole bogey to add five birdies on the day, and he came to the 18th hole one back of Suri.

On the day’s final fairway, Horsey came undone. He made triple bogey when he needed birdie, finishing second to Suri and his Sunday 64. The victory was Suri’s first on the European Tour.

Web.com Tour: Garnett Wins for 2nd Time in 2017 at Portland Open

Two resolutions took place over the last hour of the Portland Open. Brice Garnett separated himself from the field, with birdies on each of the odd-numbered holes on the inward half, plus one more at the 18th. His four-stroke victory was his second of the 2017 campaign, and his fifth top-10 finish of the year. Garnett, along with 24 others, secured PGA Tour cards for the 2017-18 season.

In the same pairing, Keith Mitchell could not catch a break on his last few holes. Needing one more birdie to earn his PGA Tour card, Mitchell left a birdie putt on the edge of the 17th hole, then missed his second shot left on the par-five 18th and could not get up and down for the stroke he needed. Mitchell finished tied for sixth, one stroke shy of his card. To make matters worse, Mitchell revealed in a post-round interview that sources on the final tee told him he needed eagle, not birdie, on the final hole.

For Garnett, the win moved him to the top spot on the money list and affirmed the quality of his game, giving him momentum as the Web.com Tour Finals begin. For Mitchell, the Finals give him another opportunity to earn a PGA Tour card.

Related: See The 25 Newest PGA Tour Members

Champions Tour: Kelly Claims 1st Win at Boeing Classic

Jerry Kelly could not have found two more dissimilar pursuers in his chase for an inaugural Champions Tour victory. Jerry Smith had zero regular-tour wins to his credit, but his final-round 64 brought him to 18-under par, good for second place. On Smith’s heels was that guy who shows up every week, Bernhard Langer. The great German champion went out in 4-under, came home in 3-under, and finished in a tie for third with Billy Mayfair.

It was Kelly who exorcised a few demons this Sunday in Snoqualmie. He made no mistakes on his outward half, but his two birdies gave hope to the Smiths and the Langers. Kelly found that extra gear that leads to trophies on the inward half. He added four birdies for 66, and escaped The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge with a one-shot win over Smith.

The victory brought Kelly to 11th on the Schwab Cup list, while Langer further secured his hold on the top spot. Smith moved from 43rd to 30th with his runner-up finish.

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Ronald Montesano writes for GolfWRX.com from western New York. He dabbles in coaching golf and teaching Spanish, in addition to scribbling columns on all aspects of golf, from apparel to architecture, from equipment to travel. Follow Ronald on Twitter at @buffalogolfer.

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Sean

    Aug 29, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    Johnson didn’t “overpower” Spieth. Spieth admitted afterwards that he should have hit his tee shot over the pond…which he did during the practice rounds…and said he simply made a poor choice by not doing so.

  2. mn

    Aug 29, 2017 at 2:29 am

    Spieth choked and lost a big lead. But as far as the playoff hole goes, it pretty much sums up the entire difference between Speith and DJ. DJ’s drive was notable, but the second shots were really telling – Jordan spent half an hour talking it out with his caddie, wiped down his club, rechecked the yardage, backed off, talked some more, then hit a mediocre shot. 30 seconds later DJ hit a wedge to two feet. Speith needs to get out of his head and just play golf.

  3. Rex

    Aug 28, 2017 at 7:06 pm

    So glad DJ won. I’m so over Spieth and how he wins. He skanks it around and the drops 20 foot putts. Does everyone like him on here?

    • nyguy

      Aug 30, 2017 at 6:40 pm

      I feel the same way, and yes it seems like alot of people on GOLFwrx love “YJS”, as you’ll see in the forums, LOL

  4. Tom54

    Aug 28, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    That was a very exciting final round. You had two of the games best battling it out till the end. DJ clearly outplayed Speith down the stretch finally making some putts when it counted. Golf has plenty of young stars and it was nice seeing two of its best showing us their best. Hope the rest of the playoffs have some more match ups like these

  5. Northwestgolfer

    Aug 28, 2017 at 11:40 am

    Web.com Tour played in North Plains, Oregon, not in Washington state.

  6. Peter Schmitt

    Aug 28, 2017 at 9:08 am

    When DJ hit that drive on the playoff hole, I heard Bill Raftery blurt out “ONIONS!!” in my head. Takes some major cojones to hit one on that line in that situation. Mad respect, DJ!

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Tour News

It’s the Ardmore! Woods begins Quicken Loans National with TaylorMade putter in the bag

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If you had a bet going with your buddies that there was no way Tiger Woods would depart from his beloved 13 major-winning Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS this week, you lose.

Woods started the first round of the Quicken Loans National with the TaylorMade Ardmore 3 he has been practicing all week with at TPC Potomac.

Adam Schupak spotted Woods’ caddie, Joe LaCava, on the way to the first tee for Woods’ 1:20 ET start time with the camo TaylorMade putter cover in the bag (not surprisingly, the TaylorMade Ardmore 3 was beneath the cover).

Woods has struggled with the putter this season, as we’re all well aware, particularly since the Memorial. No. 89 on Tour in strokes gained: putting, the 14-time major champion knew he had to do something.

“I’m trying to find something that I can feel again, like the swing of the putter, getting my body in the right positions and seeing the lines again,” Woods said. “You know, it’s just one of those things, once I start to get the ball rolling on my lines, then I’ll be back to putting like I was. I just have not been rolling it on my lines. And then on top of that, when they don’t roll on lines, then I have a hard time seeing my lines and it’s a vicious cycle. And I’m just trying to get out of that cycle.”

Woods reportedly tried a number of TaylorMade putters in the Bahamas last week, arriving (as far as we know) at the Quicken Loans National with just the Ardmore and his Newport to choose between.

He has made his choice for the first round. We’ll see how it pans out and whether Woods remains a mallet man all week.

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5 things we learned on Sunday of the 2018 U.S. Open

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Opportunity knocked for so many golfers, yet it was the 2017 champion who seized the moment when it was his. Brooks Koepka fired his second sub-par round of the week on Sunday to separate from playing partner Dustin Johnson, and enter the pantheon of multiple major champions. He became the 7th player to defend his title, joining old-school legends like Willie Anderson and John McDermott, mid-century icons like Ralph Guldahl and Ben Hogan, and the last man to accomplish the feat, Curtis Strange. With that introduction, let’s move to the main event, the 5 things we learned on Sunday at Shinnecock Hills.

5) The USGA gave golf a chance

True to its word, the USGA pulled out all the stops in the wee hours of Sunday morn. The course set-up team ensured that enough water was distributed to putting surfaces, that worthy shots would not be punished. Hole locations were assessed and confirmed, also ensuring that multiple opportunities for success were available. As a result, 15 golfers turned in scores under par of 70, highlighted by Tommy Fleetwood’s 7-under stunner. Although many fans, writers and players were quick to assault the organizers for losing control of the course, the USGA reminded us that it always had control of the conditions at Shinny, and that its only mistake was to soar too close to the sun.

4) Captain America ran out of gas

If Patrick Reed had been able to sign his card on the 9th tee, when he stood 5-under on the day and 1-over for the tournament, he would be in a playoff with the eventual champion as I type. Unfortunate for this year’s Masters champion was that 10 holes remained. Reed promptly bogeyed the 9th, added 3 more bogeys on the inward half, and summoned just one birdie toward the end. His fourth-place finish was his best in a U.S. Open, but knowing that victory was in the cards will sting for a while.

3) DJ and Finau gave it a run

Where to begin? How about this: DJ had four bogeys on Sunday. He totaled that many on Thursday-Friday combined. He had birdies, too, but couldn’t find the game that possessed him over the opening 36 holes. Oddly enough, this type of experience won’t be a setback for the 2016 champion. After all, he came back from a career-killer in 2015, when he 3-whacked his way out of a playoff with Jordan Spieth at Chambers Bay. As for Milton Pouhau Finau, aka Tony, the Utah native had never before been in the final group on any day of a major professional championship. He acquitted himself well, standing even on the day and 3-over for T2 at the 18th tee. Knowing that he needed eagle for a playoff might have taken the final winds from his sails, and he limped home with double bogey and solo third. Looking ahead to the final August playing of the PGA Championship, Bellerive near St. Louis might just be his type of course.

2) Tom Terrific nearly made his own U.S. Open history

I’ll write this cautiously, as I’m certain I would have intimated in the 1980s and 90s that Colin Montgomerie and Lee Westwood would have been major champions by now. Tommy Fleetwood ought to win one of these things soon. His record-tying 63 was a short putt away from a record-breaking 62. Eight birdies against a single bogey was the stuff of legend, and if only he had trusted that final putt a bit higher on the break … that’s not fair. Fleetwood right now is the fellow to watch at Carnoustie next month. Bet a few quid or bob or whatever on the Southport native, as he should contend for the title.

1) Brooks cooks up a winning broth

It’s easy to look back and see all the great shots that the defending champion hit over the four days of the 2018 U.S. Open, shots that would win him his second consecutive trophy. Remember that 60-feet bomb to save par on Saturday? Shades of Costantino Rocca. How about the approach shots to within mere feet that earned him 5 birdies on Sunday, including a competition-killer on 16? Koepka was the guy we thought Dustin Johnson would be. Perhaps it was the time off for wrist rehabilitation early this season that gave him the burning desire to win. Out for nearly 4 months, Koepka had plenty of time to ponder what he achieved last June in Wisconsin, and what might lay ahead for him. The begged question is, does the most recent, two-time major winner have the game to acquire more of the game’s cherished trophies?

Related: Brooks Koepka’s Winning WITB from the 2018 U.S. Open

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Wednesday’s Photos from the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (par 70; 7,440 yards) in Southhampton, New York. The U.S. Open returns to Shinnecock for the first time since 2004 when Retief Goosen won (he failed to qualify for the 2018 event).

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Phil Mickelson, who has two top-5 finishes at Shinnecock Hills, will seek to fill out his career Grand Slam with a win this week. Also, it’s Tiger Woods’ 10-year anniversary of winning the legendary 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines — that was his most recent major championship victory.

Also in the field are headliners Dustin Johnson (now ranked No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings), Justin Thomas (No. 2), Justin Rose (No. 3), Jon Rahm (No. 4) and Jordan Spieth (No. 5).

Brooks Koepka (No. 9) is the defending champion; he won last year by four shots for his first and only major so far in his career.

Check out our photos from Shinnecock Hills below!

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Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

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